Photos of Albania

Introduction

Background

Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939 and occupied by Germany in 1943. Communist partisans took over the country in 1944. Albania allied itself first with the USSR (until 1960), and then with China (to 1978). In the early 1990s, Albania ended 46 years of isolated communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, dilapidated infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents.

Albania has made progress in its democratic development since it first held multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. Most of Albania's post-communist elections were marred by claims of electoral fraud; however, international observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997. Albania joined NATO in April 2009 and in June 2014 became an EU candidate. In April 2017, Albania received a European Commission recommendation to open EU accession negotiations following the passage of historic EU-mandated justice reforms in 2016. Albania - along with North Macedonia - opened EU accession talks in 2022. Although Albania's economy continues to grow, it has slowed, and the country is still one of the poorest in Europe. A large informal economy and a weak energy and transportation infrastructure remain obstacles.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece to the south and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north

Geographic coordinates

41 00 N, 20 00 E

Area

total: 28,748 sq km

land: 27,398 sq km

water: 1,350 sq km

comparison ranking: total 144

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Maryland

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 691 km

border countries: Greece 212 km; Kosovo 112 km; North Macedonia 181 km; Montenegro 186 km

Coastline

362 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate

mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter

Terrain

mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast

Elevation

highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m

lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 708 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 42.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 22.3% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 17.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 28.8% (2018 est.)

other: 28.2% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

1,820 sq km (2020)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Scutari (shared with Montenegro) - 400 sq km
note - largest lake in the Balkans

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Black Sea) Danube (795,656 sq km)

Population distribution

a fairly even distribution, with somewhat higher concentrations of people in the western and central parts of the country

Natural hazards

destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought

Geography - note

strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)

People and Society

Population

3,101,621 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 137

Nationality

noun: Albanian(s)

adjective: Albanian

Ethnic groups

Albanian 82.6%, Greek 0.9%, other 1% (including Vlach, Romani, Macedonian, Montenegrin, and Egyptian), unspecified 15.5% (2011 est.)

note: data represent population by ethnic and cultural affiliation

Languages

Albanian 98.8% (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek 0.5%, other 0.6% (including Macedonian, Romani, Vlach, Turkish, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian), unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)

major-language sample(s):
Libri i fakteve boterore, burimi i pazevendesueshem per informacione elementare (Albanian)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Religions

Muslim 56.7%, Roman Catholic 10%, Orthodox 6.8%, atheist 2.5%, Bektashi (a Sufi order) 2.1%, other 5.7%, unspecified 16.2% (2011 est.)

note: all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice

Age structure

0-14 years: 17.9% (male 290,624/female 264,536)

15-64 years: 67.53% (male 1,030,436/female 1,064,217)

65 years and over: 14.57% (2023 est.) (male 207,960/female 243,848)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 48.2

youth dependency ratio: 24.1

elderly dependency ratio: 24.1

potential support ratio: 4.2 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 35.8 years (2023 est.)

male: 34.3 years

female: 37.2 years

comparison ranking: total 90

Population growth rate

0.19% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 180

Birth rate

12.5 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 141

Death rate

7.4 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 108

Net migration rate

-3.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 183

Population distribution

a fairly even distribution, with somewhat higher concentrations of people in the western and central parts of the country

Urbanization

urban population: 64.6% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.29% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

520,000 TIRANA (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.1 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female

total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

26.6 years (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

8 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 151

Infant mortality rate

total: 10.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 11.6 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 9.5 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 130

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 79.7 years (2023 est.)

male: 77 years

female: 82.6 years

comparison ranking: total population 60

Total fertility rate

1.55 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 193

Gross reproduction rate

0.75 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97.3% of population

rural: 96.4% of population

total: 97% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.7% of population

rural: 3.6% of population

total: 3% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

6.7% of GDP (2018)

Physicians density

1.88 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

2.9 beds/1,000 population (2013)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99.8% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 99.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.2% of population

rural: 0.5% of population

total: 0.1% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

21.7% (2016)

comparison ranking: 86

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 4.4 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.75 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 1.15 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 1.43 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.08 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 90

Tobacco use

total: 22.4% (2020 est.)

male: 38.8% (2020 est.)

female: 6% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 69

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

1.5% (2017/18)

comparison ranking: 114

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 1.4%

women married by age 18: 11.8%

men married by age 18: 1.2% (2018 est.)

Education expenditures

3.1% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 154

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 98.4%

male: 98.7%

female: 98.2% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 13 years

female: 15 years (2020)

Environment

Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents; air pollution from industrial and power plants; loss of biodiversity due to lack of resources for sound environmental management

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Climate

mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter

Land use

agricultural land: 42.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 22.3% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 17.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 28.8% (2018 est.)

other: 28.2% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 64.6% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.29% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.18% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 95

Revenue from coal

0.03% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 40

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 16.28 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 4.54 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 2.55 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 1,142,964 tons (2015 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Scutari (shared with Montenegro) - 400 sq km
note - largest lake in the Balkans

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Black Sea) Danube (795,656 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 230 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 20 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 550 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

30.2 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Albania

conventional short form: Albania

local long form: Republika e Shqiperise

local short form: Shqiperia

former: People's Socialist Republic of Albania

etymology: the English-language country name seems to be derived from the ancient Illyrian tribe of the Albani; the native name "Shqiperia" is derived from the Albanian word "Shqiponje" ("Eagle") and is popularly interpreted to mean "Land of the Eagles"

Government type

parliamentary republic

Capital

name: Tirana (Tirane)

geographic coordinates: 41 19 N, 19 49 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

etymology: the name Tirana first appears in a 1418 Venetian document; the origin of the name is unclear, but may derive from Tirkan Fortress, whose ruins survive on the slopes of Dajti mountain and which overlooks the city

Administrative divisions

12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Berat, Diber, Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Korce, Kukes, Lezhe, Shkoder, Tirane (Tirana), Vlore

Independence

28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)

National holiday

Independence Day, 28 November (1912), also known as Flag Day

Constitution

history: several previous; latest approved by the Assembly 21 October 1998, adopted by referendum 22 November 1998, promulgated 28 November 1998

amendments: proposed by at least one-fifth of the Assembly membership; passage requires at least a two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly; referendum required only if approved by two-thirds of the Assembly; amendments approved by referendum effective upon declaration by the president of the republic; amended several times, last in 2020

Legal system

civil law system except in the northern rural areas where customary law known as the "Code of Leke" is still present

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Albania

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Bajram BEGAJ (since 24 July 2022)

head of government: Prime Minister Edi RAMA (since 10 September 2013); Deputy Prime Minister Arben AHMETAJ (since 18 September 2021)

cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by the Assembly

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the Assembly for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); a candidate needs three-fifths majority vote of the Assembly in 1 of 3 rounds or a simple majority in 2 additional rounds to become president; election last held in 4 rounds on 16, 23, and 30 May and 4 June 2022 (next election to be held in 2027); prime minister appointed by the president on the proposal of the majority party or coalition of parties in the Assembly

election results:
2022:
Bajram BEGAJ elected president in the fourth round; Assembly vote - 78-4, opposition parties boycotted

2017:
Ilir META elected president in the fourth round; Assembly vote - 87-2

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Assembly or Kuvendi (140 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by open party-list proportional representation vote using the D'Hondt method; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 25 April 2021 (next to be held in 2025)

election results:
percent of vote by party/coalition - PS 48.7%, PD-Alliance for Change 39.4%, LSI 6.8%, PSD 2.3%, other 2.8%; seats by party/coalition - PS 74, PD-Alliance for Change 59, LSI 4, PSD 3; composition as of August 2023 - men 90, women 50, percent of women 35.7%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 19 judges, including the chief justice); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges, including the chairman)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the High Judicial Council with the consent of the president to serve single 9-year terms; Supreme Court chairman is elected for a single 3-year term by the court members; appointments of Constitutional Court judges are rotated among the president, Parliament, and Supreme Court from a list of pre-qualified candidates (each institution selects 3 judges), to serve single 9-year terms; candidates are pre-qualified by a randomly selected body of experienced judges and prosecutors; Constitutional Court chairman is elected by the court members for a single, renewable 3-year term

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; specialized courts: Court for Corruption and Organized Crime, Appeals Court for Corruption and Organized Crime (responsible for corruption, organized crime, and crimes of high officials)

Political parties and leaders

Alliance for Change (electoral coalition led by PD)
Democratic Party or PD [Lulzim BASHA]
Party for Justice, Integration and Unity or PDIU [Shpetim IDRIZI] (part of the Alliance for Change))
Social Democratic Party or PSD [Tom DOSHI]
Freedom Party of Albania or PL [Ilir META] (formerly the Socialist Movement for Integration or LSI)
Socialist Party or PS [Edi RAMA]

International organization participation

BSEC, CD, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, EITI (compliant country), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SELEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHRC, UNIDO, UNOOSA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

note: Albania is an EU candidate country whose satisfactory completion of accession criteria is required before being granted full EU membership

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Ervin BUSHATI (since 15 September 2023)

chancery: 2100 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 223-4942

FAX: [1] (202) 628-7342

email address and website:
embassy.washington@mfa.gov.al

http://www.ambasadat.gov.al/usa/en

consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires David WISNER (since August 2023)

embassy: Rruga Stavro Vinjau, No. 14, Tirana

mailing address: 9510 Tirana Place, Washington DC  20521-9510

telephone: [355] 4 2247-285

FAX: [355] 4 2232-222

email address and website:
ACSTirana@state.gov

https://al.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

red with a black two-headed eagle in the center; the design is claimed to be that of 15th-century hero Georgi Kastrioti SKANDERBEG, who led a successful uprising against the Ottoman Turks that resulted in a short-lived independence for some Albanian regions (1443-78); an unsubstantiated explanation for the eagle symbol is the tradition that Albanians see themselves as descendants of the eagle; they refer to themselves as "Shqiptare," which translates as "sons of the eagle"

National symbol(s)

black double-headed eagle; national colors: red, black

National anthem

name: "Hymni i Flamurit" (Hymn to the Flag)

lyrics/music: Aleksander Stavre DRENOVA/Ciprian PORUMBESCU

note: adopted 1912

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 4 (2 cultural, 1 natural, 1 mixed)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Butrint (c); Historic Berat and Gjirokastër (c); Primeval Beech Forests (n); Lake Ohrid Region (m)

Economy

Economic overview

future hopeful EU member state; oil and gas exporter but investing toward a “blue economy”; COVID-19 and earthquake economic disruptions and declines; experiencing high debt and account balances; strengthening private sector growth and public sector trust

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$40.822 billion (2021 est.)
$37.619 billion (2020 est.)
$38.976 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 120

Real GDP growth rate

8.52% (2021 est.)
-3.48% (2020 est.)
2.09% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 35

Real GDP per capita

$14,500 (2021 est.)
$13,300 (2020 est.)
$13,700 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 113

GDP (official exchange rate)

$15.273 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.04% (2021 est.)
1.62% (2020 est.)
1.41% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 72

Credit ratings

Moody's rating: B1 (2021)

Standard & Poors rating: B+ (2020)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 21.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 24.2% (2017 est.)

services: 54.1% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 162; industry 115; agriculture 42

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 78.1% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 11.5% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 25.2% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 31.5% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -46.6% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, maize, tomatoes, potatoes, watermelons, wheat, grapes, cucumbers, onions, apples

Industries

food; footwear, apparel and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower

Industrial production growth rate

16% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 12

Labor force

1.378 million (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 135

Unemployment rate

11.82% (2021 est.)
13.33% (2020 est.)
11.47% (2019 est.)

note: these official rates may not include those working at near-subsistence farming

comparison ranking: 172

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 27.8% (2021 est.)

male: 28%

female: 27.6%

comparison ranking: total 47

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 4.1%

highest 10%: 19.6% (2015 est.)

Remittances

9.41% of GDP (2021 est.)
9.69% of GDP (2020 est.)
9.56% of GDP (2019 est.)

Budget

revenues: $4.19 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $4.489 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 105

Public debt

84.06% of GDP (2020 est.)
75.7% of GDP (2019 est.)
64.57% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 40

Taxes and other revenues

17.02% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 120

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$1.37 billion (2021 est.)
-$1.315 billion (2020 est.)
-$1.219 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 142

Exports

$5.612 billion (2021 est.)
$3.461 billion (2020 est.)
$4.822 billion (2019 est.)

note: Data are in current year dollars and do not include illicit exports or re-exports.

comparison ranking: 125

Exports - partners

Italy 45%, Spain 8%, Germany 6%, Greece 5%, France 4%, China 4% (2019)

Exports - commodities

leather footwear and parts, electricity, crude petroleum, iron alloys, clothing, insulated wiring (2021)

note: Albanian cannabis production remains a significant illicit trade export

Imports

$8.004 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$5.671 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$6.926 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 125

Imports - partners

Italy 28%, Greece 12%, China 11%, Turkey 9%, Germany 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, tanned hides, packaged medical supplies, footwear parts (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$5.635 billion (31 December 2021 est.)
$4.817 billion (31 December 2020 est.)
$3.764 billion (31 December 2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 98

Debt - external

$9.311 billion (2019 est.)
$9.547 billion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 115

Exchange rates

leke (ALL) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
103.52 (2021 est.)
108.65 (2020 est.)
109.851 (2019 est.)
107.989 (2018 est.)
119.1 (2017 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 2.531 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 6,527,980,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 963 million kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 3.239 billion kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 1.054 billion kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: imports 51; exports 64; installed generating capacity 113; transmission/distribution losses 103; consumption 112

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 99.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 9,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 119,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 110,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 522 million metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 16,100 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 26,400 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 10,500 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 150 million barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

5,638 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 103

Refined petroleum products - exports

3,250 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 98

Refined petroleum products - imports

26,660 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 103

Natural gas

production: 42.05 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 42.05 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 5.692 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

3.794 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 235,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 3.482 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 78,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 144

Energy consumption per capita

38.442 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 110

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 177,152 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 7 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 121

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 2,635,466 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 92 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 146

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Albania’s small telecom market has experienced some significant changes in recent years;  upgrades were made to the fixed-line infrastructure to support broadband services; fixed-line telephony use and penetration in Albania is declining steadily as subscribers migrate to mobile solutions; the mobile sector is well provided with LTE networks, while operators have invested in 5G; some of these efforts have been made in conjunction with neighboring Kosovo, with the intention of a seamless 5G corridor along the highway connecting the two countries; the country has long sought accession to the European Union (EU) which has benefited its telecoms sector through closer scrutiny of its regulatory regime and through the injection of funding to help modernize infrastructure (2021)

domestic: fixed-line approximately 7 per 100, teledensity continues to decline due to heavy use of mobile-cellular telephone services; mobile-cellular telephone use is widespread and generally effective, 92 per 100 for mobile-cellular (2021)

international: country code - 355; submarine cables for the Adria 1 and Italy-Albania provide connectivity to Italy, Croatia, and Greece; a combination submarine cable and land fiber-optic system, provides additional connectivity to Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Turkey; international traffic carried by fiber-optic cable and, when necessary, by microwave radio relay from the Tirana exchange to Italy and Greece (2019)

Broadcast media

Albania has more than 65 TV stations, including several that broadcast nationally; Albanian TV broadcasts are also available to Albanian-speaking populations in neighboring countries; many viewers have access to Italian and Greek TV broadcasts via terrestrial reception; Albania's TV stations have begun a government-mandated conversion from analog to digital broadcast; the government has pledged to provide analog-to-digital converters to low-income families affected by this decision; cable TV service is available; 2 public radio networks and roughly 78 private radio stations; several international broadcasters are available (2019)

Internet users

total: 2.291 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 79% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 132

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 508,937 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 18 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 91

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 5

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 303,137 (2018)

Airports

3 (2024)

comparison ranking: 184

Heliports

9 (2024)

Pipelines

498 km gas (a majority of the network is in disrepair and parts of it are missing), 249 km oil (2015)

Railways

total: 424 km (2017)

2021-All the trains in the country suspended

comparison ranking: total 119

Roadways

total: 3,581 km (2022)

comparison ranking: total 159

Waterways

41 km (2011) (on the Bojana River)

comparison ranking: 114

Merchant marine

total: 69 (2023)

by type: general cargo 46, oil tanker 1, other 22

comparison ranking: total 110

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Republic of Albania Armed Forces (Forcat e Armatosura të Republikës së Shqipërisë (FARSH); aka Albanian Armed Forces): Land Forces, Naval Force (includes Coast Guard), Air Forces

Ministry of Interior: Guard of the Republic, State Police (includes the Border and Migration Police) (2023)

note: the State Police are primarily responsible for internal security, including counterterrorism, while the Guard of the Republic protects senior state officials, foreign dignitaries, and certain state properties

Military expenditures

1.8% of GDP (2023 est.)
1.2% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.4% of GDP (2021)
1.3% of GDP (2020)
1.5% of GDP (2019)

comparison ranking: 68

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 7,000 total active-duty personnel (5,000 Army; 1,500 Navy; 500 Air Force) (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

since joining NATO, the military has been in the process of modernizing by retiring its inventory of Soviet-era weapons and replacing them with Western equipment, including donated and secondhand purchases  (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-27 (up to 32 in some cases) for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription abolished 2010 (2023)

note: as of 2023, women comprised about 15% of the military's full-time personnel, including 20% of the officers

Military - note

the Albanian Armed Forces (AAF) are responsible for defending the country’s independence, sovereignty, and territory, assisting with internal security, providing disaster and humanitarian relief, and participating in international peacekeeping missions; the AAF has contributed small numbers of forces to several NATO missions since Albania joined NATO in 2009, including peacekeeping/stability missions in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Iraq, and multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria and Latvia; it has also contributed to EU and UN missions; the AAF is a small, lightly armed force that has been undergoing a modernization effort to improve its ability to fulfill NATO missions, including training and equipment purchases; the primary ground combat units include a few light infantry battalions (or battle groups), including one trained and certified for NATO missions, and a special operations regiment; the Naval Force and Coast Guard operate a small force of patrol boats while the Air Force has a small inventory of helicopters (2023)

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Qods Force; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix T

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 7,495 (Ukraine) (as of 7 November 2023)

stateless persons: 1,948 (2022)

note: 46,944 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015-October 2023)

Illicit drugs

a source country for cannabis and an active transshipment point for Albanian narco-trafficking organizations moving illicit drugs into European markets